The Journal Gazette
Friday, November 20, 2020 1:00 am


Mazda tops list of most dependable

News services

Mazda beat traditional winners Lexus and Toyota to win top honors as the most dependable auto brand in Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey.

Ford and its Lincoln luxury brand fell in the survey, with Lincoln finishing last among 26 brands after introducing new SUVs. Electric car maker Tesla was second from the bottom, with reliability troubles on three of its four models.

Mazda took top honors for the first time in the survey, which this year included Consumer Reports organization members who own more than 300,000 vehicles from model years 2000 to 2020.

The Japanese auto brand benefited from being among the smallest and lacking capital to continually offer new multi-speed transmissions and infotainment gadgets, said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing for the magazine and website.

New home sales rise 5th month in a row

Sales of existing homes rose for a fifth straight month in October, reaching a level not seen since before the housing bubble popped 14 years ago.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday existing homes sales rose 4.3% to an seasonally adjusted rate of 6.85 million annualized units. Reflecting the searing-hot housing market, that figure is up 26.6% from a year earlier.

The 6.85 million figure is the highest for that data since February 2006 – the eve of when the housing market reached its apex and subsequently collapsed.

Realtors and housing market experts have said the housing market is in a different and healthier place than it was the last time sales were at these levels.

Mortgage rates hit all-time low again

U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, reaching record lows for the 13th time this year amid fresh signs of weakness in the pandemic-ravaged economy.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year benchmark loan declined to 2.72% from 2.84% last week. By contrast, the rate averaged 3.66% a year ago.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage eased to 2.28% from 2.34%.

Home loan rates have trended downward through most of this year, bolstering demand from would-be homebuyers.

Fresh signs emerged this week that the resurgent coronavirus outbreak is likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs.

EU too slow on Big Tech: Report

The EU's efforts to rein in the power of big tech companies such as Google and Facebook through antitrust investigations have taken too long, dulling their effectiveness, a report said Thursday.

Legal tools available to the bloc's regulators, meanwhile, have not kept pace with digital markets, allowing Silicon Valley giants to eliminate rivals, said the report by the European Court of Auditors, which examined the EU's enforcement of competition rules over the past decade.

European Union authorities have been at the forefront of global efforts to bring the tech giants to heel but they've been criticized for lengthy investigations that have resulted in fines that are huge yet affordable for the wealthy companies. Google is currently appealing a 2.4 billion euro ($2.9 billion) antitrust fine levied in 2017 that stems from an investigation into its shopping search results that began a decade ago.

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